Monday, February 8, 2010

Respecting your elders

I am about to blow your mind. Are you ready? Here goes:

Two posts in one day. Crazy.

I'll have another day off work tomorrow and there's more snow (I've heard anywhere from 12 to 20 more inches) coming our way tomorrow afternoon into Wednesday, so it looks like I might not be going to work this week at all. Our street has yet to be plowed since Friday. I'm hoping tomorrow someone (either my Dad or my sister-in-law) will come to get me in their 4 wheel drive so I can at least get a gallon or 2 of milk, if they even HAVE any at the grocery store.

Anyway, we started painting the guest room tonight. In the process of doing that, of course, I removed the air vent covers and switchplates while I was taping (p.s. I'm digging Frog Tape right now. While it's not perfect,  it does do a much better job that the blue painters tape.) Taking off the switchplates, I found this.


 I love that you can see  the layers of old paint from this room. 

Our house was built in 1947 (do the math, it's 63 years old), and back then it only had one floor, and the basement, which we're pretty sure has never been a finished basement. That means that it was a 2 bedroom house. In my mind, the smaller of the two bedrooms housed a boy (the blue) then a girl (the pink) then possibly the room was shared (green) and then it went white/tan. I also found remnants of wallpaper on the back of one of the switch plates, but it didn't have much of a story. 

Living in an old house has its ups and downs. Every job you take on will probably uncover something you were not planning to fix or replace, but it need to be fixed or replaced. Nothing is straight, not the floors, not the walls, not the ceiling, nothing. Your walls might be made of any number of materials. You'll find that previous owners have done bizarre DIY jobs, some of which are clever, others just dumb. There are never enough outlets. 

For me though, the fact that our house has history is one reason why I love it. Finding layers of paint behind switch plates is exciting for me. I love that our floors creak. I love that we have funny locks on our doorknobs. I love that this is the neighborhood I grew up in and that my brother's elementary school bully used to live here. I love that all the houses on our block are different. Every time we find one of those crazy DIY solutions, I love trying to figure out what on earth the prior owner was thinking. 

From the time I was a teenager I didn't want to live in a planned community. I never liked the idea that my neighbor could come over to my house and already know their way around.

Adam and I looked a townhouse when we were shopping for home that had every single thing we wanted, except a little bit of yard. It had loads of space to entertain, it had a soaking bathtub and master suite. Open floor plan with plenty of entertaining space. A kitchen with double ovens and a pantry. Adam would have even gotten a garage out of the deal. And it was at the low end of our price range. What turned us off in the end? It didn't have a front. The way community was laid out made it so that there was one townhouse that faced the street and was the "front" and another behind it that was the "back". The one we were looking was the back unit, so for us there was no front walk, no mailbox "out front", no windows, no shutters, nothing. This instantly stripped all the character from the house. It was like it didn't have a face. It couldn't smile and greet people.

Not that our house now is a beauty outside, it's most certainly a work in progress out there. But it is ours, and what it says only our house will say, because it's the only house like it. 

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